Skip to Content

Postgraduate Research

Architecture

School of Natural and Built Environment | PhD
Entry Year
Academic Year 2024/25
Entry Requirements
2.1

Overview

Architecture at Queen’s addresses the issues of architecture and urbanism in an increasingly globalised world, where factors such as sustainability and climate change, identity and heritage, and notions of craft and form create a complex context that architecture has to mediate.

Architecture at Queen’s values both traditional academic and practice-based research. We have the expertise to support PhDs (full and part-time) involving deep investigations into cultural, historic and technological contexts both in Ireland and globally, and we offer a practice-based PhD (part-time) intended for those seeking to extend or redefine the boundaries and ambition of their current design practice. Our research-by-design activities surface new knowledge through not only the analysis of the existing, but also the documentation of new processes, behaviours and situations revealed through sophisticated design thinking. In both, architecture is seen both as a lens and as a measure of urban, suburban and rural landscapes.

Mode of study / duration

Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your PhD thesis at the end of three years of full-time or six years of part-time registration.

Subject Summary

Architecture at Queens is in the Top 200 in the World QS Rankings. In the island of Ireland we are the leaders in Architectural research and indeed we have world-class expertise in Architectural Design, Sustainable Cities, Heritage, and Architectural Humanities. Head of Architecture, Dr Sarah Lappin, was Chair of the Architectural Humanities Research Association for six years, and we were co-founders of the All-Ireland Architecture Research Group. You’ll conduct research that addresses the issues of architecture within an increasingly globalised world, focusing on an area of research strength such as materiality (developing new technologies); urbanism (sustainability and heritage); sustainability (developing urban resilience by adaptation); heritage (documenting the architectural past), and cultural context (gaining a real-time understanding of motion in the city). We value both traditional academic and practice-based research, particularly research-by-design, which we use to make new knowledge through not only the analysis of the existing, but also the documentation of new processes and situations created by new design thinking.

Architecture Highlights

Industry Links
  • Architecture has collaborations with numerous universities and other organisations around the globe. These include: TU Delft; MIT; Tokyo Metropolitan Government; Green Building Council, Australia; Innovate UK; Northern Ireland Climate Change; Belfast City Council Sustainable Development Group; Todd Architects, Belfast; and Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast.
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/Research/
World Class Facilities
Internationally Renowned Experts
  • In the island of Ireland we are the leaders in Architectural research and indeed we have world-class expertise in Architectural Design, Sustainable Cities, Heritage, and Architectural Humanities.
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/
Student Experience

Key Facts

As a Russell Group university and ranked in the UK top 10 (Guardian University Guide and Complete University Guides 2022), Queen’s is one of the best places in the UK to study architecture.

  • In terms of research quality, Queen’s is ranked 12th in the UK for Architecture, Built Environment and Planning (REF 2021/Times Higher Education).

Student Testimonials

Course content

Research Information

Associated Research
Architecture at Queen’s offers the opportunity to make an original contribution to the discipline of architecture through a PhD or MPhil within the department’s accomplished, academic environment. Each lecturer in architecture pursues a unique research interest so that as a whole, the school is a diverse and lively place to study.

Working closely with their chosen supervisors, PhD students are also connected to the School of Natural and Built Environment’s research clusters, benefitting from the cross-disciplinary context of research in the school. As part of the Russell Group, the university often hosts symposiums, seminars and conferences which connect researchers with renowned academics from across the globe.

Research Impact
Architecture has collaborations with numerous universities and other organisations around the globe. These include: TU Delft; MIT; Tokyo Metropolitan Government; Green Building Council, Australia; Innovate UK; Northern Ireland Climate Change; Belfast City Council Sustainable Development Group; Todd Architects, Belfast; and Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast.

Career Prospects

Introduction
Many of our PhD graduates have moved into academic and research roles in Higher Education while others go on to play leading roles in educational practice, the public sector or within NGO’s. Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability. For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Recruitment Team on askEPS@qub.ac.uk. Our advisors - in consultation with the School - will be happy to provide further information on your research area, possible career prospects and your research application.

People teaching you

Dr Agustina Martire
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Dr Chantelle Niblock
Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Dr Gul Kacmaz Erk
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Dr Niek Turner
Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Dr Nuala Flood
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Dr Sarah Lappin
Senior Lecturer
Natural & Built Environment

Dr Sean Cullen
Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Mr Keith McAllister
Senior Lecturer
Natural and Built Environment

Professor Gary Boyd
Professor
Natural and Built Environment

Professor Tom Jefferies
Director of Research
Natural and Built Environment

Learning Outcomes

A research degree offers students an opportunity to foster their capacity for independent research and critical thought. It also allows students to explore an area of interest and so understand and solve theoretical and practical problems within the field.

Undertaking a research degree also enhances a student’s written and oral communication skills, and a PhD is almost always a formal requirement for an academic post.

Course structure

You will carry out original research under the guidance of your supervisory team. There is no specific course content as such. This independent research is complemented by postgraduate skills training organised by Queen’s Graduate School, and other internal and external training courses organised through your supervisor.

You will normally register, in the first instance, as an ‘undifferentiated PhD student’ which means that you have satisfied staff that you are capable of undertaking a research degree. The decision as to whether you should undertake an MPhil or a PhD is delayed until you have completed ‘differentiation’.

Differentiation takes place about 9-12 months after registration for full time students and about 18-30 months for part time students: You are normally asked to submit work to a panel of up two academics and this is followed up with a formal meeting with the ‘Differentiation Panel’. The Panel then make a judgement about your capacity to continue with your study. Sometimes students are advised to revise their research objectives or to consider submitting their work for an MPhil qualification rather than a doctoral qualification.

To complete with a doctoral qualification you will be required to submit a thesis of no more than 80,000 words and you will be required to attend a viva voce [oral examination] with an external and internal examiner to defend your thesis.

A PhD programme runs for 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time. Students can apply for a writing up year should it be required.

The PhD is open to both full and part time candidates and is often a useful preparation for a career within academia or consultancy.

Full time students are often attracted to research degree programmes because they offer an opportunity to pursue in some depth an area of academic interest.

The part time route is a suitable option for those unable to study for a PhD full time. This may be due to family commitments or those already in employment. On the former, studying part time for a PhD can be very accommodating in juggling different responsibilities. On the latter, part time candidates often choose to research an area that is related to their professional responsibilities.

If you meet the Entry Requirements, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff.

Application Process
Please review the eligibility criteria on the webpages. If you believe that you meet these criteria then follow the steps below:

Select ONE potential supervisor from our list of Academic Staff (https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/OurPeople/AcademicandResearchStaff/) and send an email containing:

a brief CV (1-2 pages maximum)
a concise statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, stating when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research
a brief statement of the research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated

Our academic staff welcome approaches from prospective students; staff can liaise with applicants to develop a research proposal of mutual interest. The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to meet with them or they may invite you to apply formally.

If you have difficulty identifying or contacting an appropriate supervisor, please contact Catherine Boone (email: pgr.snbe@qub.ac.uk) who will be happy to help.

For part-time study – the closing date for this option is 31st August each year.

For full-time study (self-funding) – for those full time candidates who do not wish to compete for a studentship or who are not eligible to compete for a studentship the closing date is 31st August each year.

For full-time study and application for a studentship/award; please be aware that awards are only available to full time students. Candidates wishing to apply for studentships available within the School must apply for full-time study at the same time. Available studentships and closing dates are detailed on the School's studentships web page: https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/NBE/Study/PostgraduateResearch/ResearchStudentships/

Assessment

Assessment processes for the research degree differ from taught degrees. Students will be expected to present drafts of their work at regular intervals to their supervisor who will provide written and oral feedback; a formal assessment process takes place annually.

This Annual Progress Review requires students to present their work in writing and orally to a panel of academics from within the School. Successful completion of this process will allow students to register for the next academic year.

The final assessment of the doctoral degree is both oral and written. Students will submit their thesis to an internal and external examining team who will review the written thesis before inviting the student to orally defend their work at a Viva Voce.

Feedback

Supervisors will offer feedback on draft work at regular intervals throughout the period of registration on the degree.

Learning and Teaching

-

-
-

Project name School Funding Subject Status Sort Timestamp
Mapping urban transformations and production of space in post-socialist cities
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Urban transformations, post-socialist city Dr Jasna Mariotti
Supervisor
Dr Jasna Mariotti
Funding
Unfunded
Application deadline
None specified
School of Natural and Built Environment Unfunded Architecture Open 2
Retrofitted smart building monitoring systems
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD BIM Smart Buildings, Retrofitting Dr Tara Brooks
Supervisor
Dr Tara Brooks
Funding
Unfunded
Application deadline
None specified
School of Natural and Built Environment Unfunded Architecture Open 2
Augmented Urbanism and Place Based Data
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD Urbanism, Augmented, Place, Aesthetics, Human Centric, Design, Interface, Physical space, Digital sp Professor Tom Jefferies
Supervisor
Professor Tom Jefferies
Funding
Unfunded
Application deadline
None specified
School of Natural and Built Environment Unfunded Architecture Open 2
Innovative Ways of Seeing Cities through Cinema: Spatial Mapping and Data Digitisation of Dublin Film Locations
School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD architecture, design, art, film, media, cinematic architecture, new media Dr Gul Kacmaz Erk
Supervisor
Dr Gul Kacmaz Erk
Funding
Funded
EPSRC
Application deadline
30 June 2024
School of Natural and Built Environment Funded Architecture Open 2 1719702000

Entrance requirements

Graduate
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in Speaking and Listening and a minimum of 5.5 in Reading and Writing, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University, is required. *Taken within the last 2 yrs.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 TBC
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 TBC
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 TBC
EU Other 3 £25,600
International £25,600

1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. All fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Architecture costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

Bench fees

Some research programmes incur an additional annual charge on top of the tuition fees, often referred to as a bench fee. Bench fees are charged when a programme (or a specific project) incurs extra costs such as those involved with specialist laboratory or field work. If you are required to pay bench fees they will be detailed on your offer letter. If you have any questions about Bench Fees these should be raised with your School at the application stage. Please note that, if you are being funded you will need to ensure your sponsor is aware of and has agreed to fund these additional costs before accepting your place.

How do I fund my study?

1.PhD Opportunities

Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.

2.Funded Doctoral Training Programmes

We offer numerous opportunities for funded doctoral study in a world-class research environment. Our centres and partnerships, aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, and provide targeted training and skills development.

3.PhD loans

The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students.

4.International Scholarships

Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.

Funding and Scholarships

The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Find a supervisor

If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.

To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.

You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.

Download Postgraduate Prospectus